June 24, 2011 / 12:29 AM / 6 years ago

UBS remains defiant in face of defections

<p>A worker climbs on a ladder under the logo of Swiss bank UBS at the company's headquarters in Zurich May 26, 2011.Arnd Wiegmann</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It seems the blows just keep coming for UBS AG UBSN.VX.

Hurting after a series of high-profile defections, the Swiss bank has dropped out of the top 10 in the rankings of deal advisers, according to Thomson Reuters data through June 21.

But UBS remains defiant.

"We continue to win and participate in high-profile transactions," said Ehren Stenzler, who took over as co-head of U.S. M&A earlier this month. "We've materially improved our position in revenue share versus last year."

The firm is moving quickly to replace those who have left.

UBS has hired more than 45 bankers in the first half of 2011, including managing directors and executive directors across the investment bank in the Americas. About 50 MD-level bankers have left since 2009.

The hires include energy banker Tom Langford and technology banker Adam Frisch, both from Morgan Stanley (MS.N), as well as Mark Zanoli and Richard Eisenberg from JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N).

Stenzler saw one of his bosses leave just this Tuesday. Liam Beere -- who had became the sole global head of M&A after his partner Cary Kochman left earlier in June for Citigroup Inc (C.N) -- decamped for Moelis & Co, a firm that was founded by former president of UBS investment bank Ken Moelis.

Beere and Kochman had been named co-heads in March.

In the first six months of the year, UBS fell one spot to No. 11 in the worldwide M&A league tables, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The ranking is UBS' poorest first-half showing in two years and a comedown from the bank's high watermark in a decade -- No. 5 spot reached in the first six months of 2005.

League tables are closely followed in the industry and used as marketing tools, but there are different ways to measure performance and large deals can skew rankings.

By another measure -- rankings by advisory fees -- Stenzler said the Swiss bank had actually moved up in the Americas.

Stenzler cited data from Dealogic, a competitor to Thomson Reuters, that shows UBS climbed to No. 6 from No. 10 in rankings based on advisory fees in the Americas. Rankings based on advisory fees count only completed deals.

"We've almost doubled our market share in our revenue ranking," Stenzler said. "We've also improved our positioning in terms of the number of deals announced versus last year."

UBS earned the most fees in Asia, pocketing $151 million for completed transactions, according to Thomson Reuters/Freeman Consulting Co estimates.

In the United States, UBS advised on 62 deals worth a total of $78.6 billion, up from 47 deals totaling $65.6 billion in the same period last year, Thomson Reuters data shows

That wasn't enough to raise its ranking. In deals involving U.S. companies, it fell three spots to No. 12, the data shows.

UBS has been an adviser in some of this year's top deals, including the largest private equity deal of 2011 -- Blackstone Group's (BX.N) buyout of Centro Properties' CNP.AX U.S. shopping malls for $9.4 billion.

Earlier this month UBS and Evercore Partners (EVR.N) advised International Paper Co (IP.N) in a $3.3 billion unsolicited offer for rival Temple-Inland Inc TIN.N.

Stenzler insisted the bank has not had a hard time attracting bankers because they are "excited about our global platform in an increasingly global M&A market."

"It hasn't been difficult," Stenzler said. "The people we've hired were attracted to the culture that we're building here and the opportunity."

Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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